Chris Knox, Senior Change Delivery Manager, talks about our design thinking approach at BGL Tech.
When it comes to Design Thinking, there are a number of fancy definitions, diagrams, infographics and shiny toolkits. But when you boil it all down, it’s really all about understanding experiences to deliver personalised services.
To test out our design approaches at BGL Tech, we like to run Ideation sessions with our teams, where we create solutions for real-life scenarios, following the Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test approach. So absolutely nothing to do with the insurance industry but helping to spark creativity and free thinking.
So how do we in BGL Tech take the Design Thinking approach and apply it to our innovation?
At BGL Tech, we focus on the individual needs and recognise the moments that matter within their journeys to emphasize and imagine seamless experiences.
That's great, but what does it actually mean?
- Begin with a human-centered design mindset vs. process-driven mindset
- Ask what, how and why?
- Focus on extreme cases and think about accessibility from the start
- Identify moments that matter both inside and outside the journey to manage the change required
- Conduct interviews with empathy
- Bodystorming. Put the team in the users’ shoes, to boost the feelings of empathy
- Use personas to help fully understand the individual’s viewpoint
The main goal of this stage is to produce a coherent problem statement putting the individual at the centre of the design.
Some of the processes we use are:
- Journey mapping to make sense of pain points and recommendations
- Using data and insights to help understand what success looks like
- Persona validation
- Brainstorming sessions
- Empathy mapping
This stage helps our designers gather great ideas to establish features, functions, and other elements that will allow us to solve the problems or, at the very least, allow customers to resolve issues themselves with the minimum of difficulty.
But remember this isn’t a liner process. It’s OK to gather more data, insights, and discover different needs. Ultimately this is an organic process.
Let the creativity flow and be bold!
The main aim of the Ideation stage is to use creativity and innovation in order to develop the solutions. It’s also important to create the right type of environment to help promote a creative work culture with a curious, courageous, and concentrated atmosphere. What’s amazing about this stage is how it brings together perspectives and strengths of team members, as well as uncovering unexpected areas of innovation.
Before you get started, make sure you do have a solid problem statement that will allow you to ideate with some goals in mind. The best way to get ideas flowing is a good old fashion brainstorming session. The rules are pretty simple. Generate as many ideas as possible in 10–15 mins and work as a team. Or if you have the chance, run a dedicated design challenge to really help call-out the ideas.
But remember, it is still important to focus on the best, the most practical, or the most innovative ideas, in order to move on to the prototype stage.
Just start designing. Pens, paper, post-it-notes, XD, Sketch, MarvelApp, whatever format your team are comfortable with. Prototyping allows you, as well as users/customers, to explore alternative solutions, as quickly as possible.
Remember what you’re testing for. All prototypes should have a central testing issue. Do not lose sight of that issue, but at the same time, do not get so bound to it so as to lose sight of other lessons you could learn. Build with the user in mind. Test the prototype against your expected user behaviours and user needs. Then, learn from the gaps in expectations and realities and improve your ideas.
Some things to help you on your test journey:
- Run accessibility tests regularly throughout the development
- Show, don’t tell and let your users experience the prototype
- Think about using a Usability Lab to help understand behaviours in more detail
- Ask users to talk through their experience
- Don’t be afraid of feedback
- Get a formal accessibility audit done
As with each stage in a Design Thinking process, testing should provide new insights to inform your understanding and to help you define or redefine the various problems that individuals might face. The best advice is to seek feedback wherever possible, conduct tests using a range of people, and analyse the results to determine what is working well and what is causing issues. For the Design Thinker, it is a time to observe how users react to a product and listen to their feedback on different aspects.
Even at this stage, be brave. It’s OK to gather more data, insights, discover different needs and even start again.